FREE and independent press – How far has Malaysia come in achieving this? was what 15-year-old SMK Subang Jaya student Cheah Peng Loon set out to answer in an English Language Essay Writing Competition recently.
Having a good mind and a good command of English, Peng Loon beat 65 other students to emerge the winner of the contest, jointly organised by Sunway College and the Oxford and Cambridge Society of Malaysia.
The second prize went to Royal Military College student Irving Tan Zhi Mian, 15, and the third prize to Heng Aik Roy of St Paul's Institution.
“The event is a way of promoting proficiency in English among Malaysian students. It is not enough only to be able to understand English. We need to master the language in order to be able to participate and compete in global politics and the world economy,” said Oxford and Cambridge Society of Malaysia president Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad who presented the prizes to the winners.
The essay writing contest was among the activities held at a one-day workshop, entitled An English Cornucopia, which had a total of 1,000 participants from 22 secondary schools.
There were also workshops on Public Speaking Skills, Writing Techniques (Non-fiction), Paradigm Shift (for teachers), and a talk on What it takes to enter Oxford and Cambridge University. Speakers were from the Oxford and Cambridge Society.
“The event was organised in response to the Government's call to improve the language usage among schoolchildren,” said Sunway College principal Elizabeth Lee.
“The aim of the workshop was to inculcate a love for the language among youth. Based on the high quality of essays written for the competition, we believe that students understand the importance of English,” she added.